Top Hamas Leader Killed By
Isreal - Hamas Vows Revenge

NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, a senior military leader of the militant Islamic group Hamas, was killed on Friday by an Israeli missile strike near the Palestinian West Bank town of Nablus, two Hamas spokesmen said.
Abu Hanoud was one of the top Hamas militants sought by Israel, which had tried to kill him several times in the past.
"Based on information given to the Abu Hanoud family by the pathologist in Jenin hospital, it was confirmed that the body belongs to Mahmoud Abu Hanoud," said Adnan Asfour, a Hamas spokesman in Nablus.
A Hamas spokesman in Jenin said doctors at the hospital where his charred remains were taken had "announced the death of Abu Hanoud."
Hanoud was killed along with his deputy, Ayman Hashaikah, and a third man when Israeli helicopters fired missiles at their car in the West Bank earlier on Friday.
The fact that the body parts were dismembered and burned had delayed identification, Palestinian officials said.
Hanoud's death was bound to inflame passions in the 14-month-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation which erupted shortly after peace talks stalled.
Hamas, which opposes Israel's existence, has mounted a bombing campaign which has killed scores of Israelis since the uprising began.
Israel has killed some 70 Palestinian militants it says are behind attacks on Israelis since the revolt flared. Palestinians call the killings -- which have been condemned internationally -- assassinations.
GAZA (Reuters) - A senior political official of the militant Islamic group Hamas vowed on Friday that the group would take revenge for Israel's killing of a top Hamas military leader.
Israel killed Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, one of the top men on its most-wanted list, with a missile strike on the car in which he was traveling near the West Bank city of Nablus earlier in the day.
"The assassination of Abu Hanoud was not a simple incident," Hamas official Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi told Reuters in Gaza.
"Experience has shown that the military wing of Hamas reacts to the Israeli crimes and always strikes back. God willing, there will be a painful response against the criminal enemy," he said.
Hamas has killed scores of Israelis in suicide bombings in past years and has taken a key role in the 14-month-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

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